With his latest single “TAKE THIS CROWN,” alt-rock artist DE’WAYNE enlisted his close friends and collaborators Joel Madden (Good Charlotte), producer Robbie Hiser, and genre-bending superstar WILLOW to pen an arena-sized, heartfelt anthem with a sense of urgency. Madden, who has always had a close relationship with DE’WAYNE throughout his career, describes the sessions for the latest track as “therapeutic and cathartic,” a sentiment that is echoed through the emotive vocals sung by the pair. “What a special moment we captured in a song all about the inner struggles of learning to love and believe in yourself,” Madden says, reflecting on the creative process. “While I’ve always found it hard to express my own struggles with self-esteem, DE’WAYNE made it very easy for me to open up and create.”

The latest single comes on the heels of DE’WAYNE’s forthcoming studio album which he has been working on collaboratively with Hiser since its inception. According to the producer, it was an organic process: “Joel came over to my studio with DE’WAYNE and WILLOW just to vibe. Joel asked to pull up some guitar stuff, and I had that main loop in my folder. It all came together super fast after that.”

As an artist, DE'WAYNE has proven to be one of the most charismatic and exciting new talents in the scene, whether that’s captivating audiences through his high-intensity performances or his expertise in writing infectious hooks. In speaking on DE’WAYNE’s ever-evolving legacy, Madden notes,” I think DE’WAYNE is the new ‘alt king,’ whether he wants the crown or not. I for one love to see him shine, and I feel like it couldn’t happen to a better guy and a more humble and talented artist.”

In an interview with AP, the newly appointed DE’WAYNE detailed the creative process behind his latest single, collaborating with Madden and what to expect from his new album.

Read more: DE’WAYNE, Enumclaw and the 1975 are our tracks of the week

How did the creative process for “TAKE THE CROWN” start?

It started between a conversation with Joel and all of us about his daughter, controlling your kingdom, understanding where you come from, and where you want to [go]. That really inspired me to look back at where I came from. To be in the studio with a legend and my best friends, I was just inspired to go from there. Once Robbie [Hiser] laid the loop, I was good to go.

What was the most magical moment you experienced when crafting the song.

When Joel hopped on the mic, we were like, “Oh shit.” You saw all the hit songs come out, and you just realize this is why [Good Charlotte] are one of the best bands. He completely took control. It was beautiful and inspiring, and I think that’s why it’s connecting so well.

“TAKE THIS CROWN” touches on so many relatable topics and is relatable to your own internal struggles. How did it feel to approach the song with such vulnerability?

I’ve had so much heartache to get to this point. So when Joel came in talking about what he was talking about, I understood it on a smaller level. It just made sense for my journey and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about me coming from Texas, and you don’t mean to leave people behind, but I always knew where I wanted to head since I was a kid. This song feels like another step in the DE’WAYNE journey.

It is exciting to see that WILLOW penned lyrics for this song as well. What was the experience of collaborating with her like?

She’s one of my best friends and it’s always good to have inspiring genius energy. Between her, Joel, and Robbie in the studio, it was just everything. I think we’ll have some stuff in the future, but regardless, she’s the best in rock ‘n’ roll.

Obviously, you have been close to Joel and Good Charlotte for years now, what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from them?

It’s very simple: just to trust yourself and the process. When I came to LA at 19, I was a completely different human and artist, but they never forced me to become this rock artist or who I even am now. I believe that I am just a poet, rock and roll artist, and someone who wants to enlighten instead of do bullshit, and they taught me that from a young age.

You’ve released a steady stream of new singles ahead of your highly-anticipated sophomore album. What can we expect from the full project? 

We have a really incredible rock ‘n’ roll record that’s coming. I’m really proud of it, and we’ve made such strides since the last [one] thanks to Robbie and the people around me. It’s something that people need, and we’ve just been ourselves.